Plastics Materials: Properties and Applications

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The cross-linking process eliminates the risk of the product remelting when heat is applied, making thermosets ideal for high-heat applications such as electronics and appliances.


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Thermoplastics pellets soften when heated and become more fluid as additional heat is applied. The curing process is completely reversible as no chemical bonding takes place. Thermoset plastics are often used for sealed products due to their resistance to deformation. There are multiple thermoplastic resins that offer various performance benefits, but most materials commonly offer high strength, shrink-resistance and easy bendability.

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Depending on the resin, thermoplastics can serve low-stress applications such as plastic bags or high-stress mechanical parts. Download PDF version of our catalog. Includes full listing of specifications of housing and headers. Download our catalog. Become a plastics industry expert! Find out more about our manufacturing process, turnaround times and the types of materials we work with. Visit Learning Center. Thermoplastics are very different from thermoset materials.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

They are both used in the injection molding process, but thermosets can only be heated and molded once. They cannot be changed or melted back into their original shape. This makes them great for high-heat applications, but also makes thermoset plastics less versatile than thermoplastic materials.

During the thermoset plastic curing process, polymers are linked together and form a permanent chemical bond. In contrast, no chemical bonding takes place during the curing process of thermoplastics, making it completely reversible.

Thermoplastics can be remelted and remolded whenever its necessary. Thermoplastics are the only type of plastic that can be welded. When the plastic is heated, the material becomes a paste or a liquid that can then be molded into the desired shapes. Though each type of thermoplastic offers its own characteristics and properties, they can all withstand multiple re-shapings without any damage being done to the materials.

In the past, all rubber materials were thermoset, meaning they could no longer be changed once the injection molding process was complete. However, thermoplastic elastomers TPEs or thermoplastic rubbers make it possible for thermoset materials to behave similar to thermoplastics. They are especially useful in the automobile industry, aerospace industry, and many consumer markets.

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Thermoplastic elastomers are known as two-phase systems because they are created when a hard-thermoplastic phase is combined mechanically or chemically with a soft elastomer phase, taking characteristics from both phases to form the final product. From the hard phase, the TPEs get properties like processing and continuous temperatures, tear strength, and chemical and fluid resistance.

From the soft phase, they get their hardness, flexibility, and compression set, among other properties. Stack Plastics works with a wide range of thermoplastics in our injection molding processes. From standard to exotic to engineered, we have experience molding many materials for different applications. We can also blend thermoplastic materials with additives like PTFE for enhanced strength and durability.

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Thermoset vs. Thermoplastics

The following thermoplastics can be used as an alternative to PVC or for any of your unique applications needs. Acrylic is a thermoplastic polymer that exhibits many glass-like optical qualities but is hardier and more protective. It is often known as Lucite, Perspex, and Plexiglas. Acrylics are used in nearly every industry, and are used as a glass substitute for items such as:. ABS, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is a synthesized plastic that combines styrene and acrylonitrile.

This safe thermoplastic is used in many consumer products that humans come in direct contact with, such as cell phones, toys, microwaves, and other appliances. ABS thermoplastics are known for being strong, light, versatile, and tough. ABS consists of three distinct monomers and by combining them, the thermoplastic becomes flexible and lightweight.

Because of this, ABS flows smoothly and is perfect for injection molding.


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Polybenzimidazole PBI is an artificial thermoplastic polymer with one of the highest melting points of any material that is applicable for use as a fiber. It is the most high-performance engineered thermoplastic material available.

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Because of this, PBI is used as a base for high demand equipment that is used by militaries throughout the world, as well as firefighting and police forces. Because of its extreme hardness and durability, PBI can be difficult to machine, but Stack Plastics is experienced in engineering for demanding industries.

Polyethylene is not one specific material, but actually a group of thermoplastics characterized by the type, structure, and thickness of the polymer.


  1. Plastic Resins and Their Common Types of Packaging Applications;
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  5. Plastics Materials;
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  8. In general, the higher the density, the higher the tensile and flexural strength, chemical and abrasion resistance, and surface hardness.

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